The Medieval Paston Household
Some of the principal members of staff and friends of the Paston household who appear in the Letters.
James Gresham was a lawyer and an agent for Judge William Paston's estates in north Norfolk, including Gresham. He continued to serve the family for many years. The Gresham family, like the Pastons, worked their way up the social order and also founded a school (Gresham's School in Holt).
William Lumnor built Mannington Hall in the 1460s.The roof timbers were cut from Paston-owned woodlands at Saxthorpe. William Lumnor was an old friend of Margaret Paston's family, and he continued to be a firm friend and confidant of John and Margaret Paston. William Lumnor's letter of 1450 describing the death of the Duke of Suffolk is one of the most important and moving of all the Paston Letters. It is said that the letter is tear-stained.
His sister Margaret married Edmund Paston, and there is a memorial in Itteringham Church.
William Botoner is an alias for William of Worcester or William Worcester, confidential secretary to Sir John Fastolf and a significant figure in the arguments over the will of Sir John. He is credited as a chronicler, a topographer and an antiquary. Botoner is his mother Elizabeth's maiden name.He was educated at Oxford. He was an executor to Fastolf and the author of several scholarly texts.
Sir James Gloys was chaplain to the Paston family from 1448 to 1473.
In 1448 James Gloys raised his dagger in a Norwich street against Wyndham in defence of his Mistress Margaret Paston and her Mother in Law, Agnes. Gloys served the Pastons as chaplain, tutor and clerk. In 1465, Margaret Paston sent him to the Manor Court at Drayton to defend John Paston's title to Hellesdon Manor.
When Margaret Paston retired to Mautby, Gloys was rector of nearby Stokesby and continued to have a great influence on Margaret Paston. Relations between Gloys and Margaret's sons became strained so much so that in 1472 John III described Gloys to his elder brother as "the proud, peevish and ill-disposed priest to us all"
By 1450 Richard Calle had become the Pastons' bailiff, responsible for managing the family's finances. Calle was from an old established family in Suffolk. The Calles sold their farm produce at their family chandlery in Framlingham. Richard was well educated and competent, and he had an important impact on managing and generating income from the Paston estates. Calle also acted as a scribe and trusted messenger for the family.
In 1469 Richard Calle was discovered to have embarked on a love affair with John I's daughter Margery. Not only was this a blow to the family's aim of making a profitable marriage for Margery, Calle was descended from a family of shopkeepers, which horrified Margery's mother and brothers. Clandestine vows between Margery and Richard added further to their dismay, and Richard was dismissed from the Pastons' employment. Following a ruling by the Bishop's Court in Norwich that the marriage between Margery and Richard was valid, the Pastons realised they needed his financial acumen. Margery and Richard were reunited, and he was reinstated as bailiff, although perhaps never fully accepted.
After Margery's death, c. 1479, Richard Calle married Margaret, the daughter of Andrew Trollope and Elizabeth Mundeford. They lived in Bacton, and there is a memorial to a Calle in Edingthorpe Church.
The dates we give for his year of birth and year of death are estimates from when he started work for the Pastons through to the final known date when he was still alive.
John Daubeney was the second son of William Daubeney, Lord of Sharrington, near Holt. First mentioned in the Letters in 1461, he probably had military training and, together with Richard Calle, provided the support for Margaret Paston to protect the Paston Estates. In a letter, John Paston I addressed Daubeney as 'My well beloved friend'. The Pastons' need for a man such as Daubeney was evident after the disputed inheritance in 1459 of the Fastolf lands and property. Daubeney was killed during the Siege of Caister Castle (by a crossbow quarrel, according to Colin Richmond). There is a brass memorial to John Daubeney in Sharrington Church. The date of birth is a best estimate.
He was in service of the Paston family from at least 1461; he wrote a number of Margaret's letters.
John Pampyng, gentleman, was in service to John Paston from around 1461 to 1473. He was the writer of many of John Paston's letters and went with him on his business journeys to London. In the disputes at Cotton, Pamping was imprisoned in Suffolk and famously wrote to John Paston I explaining that he had 'a clog on my heel' to ensure that he did not escape. He also faithfully served John Paston's elder sons. The younger John Paston wrote that Pampyng and John Stills are 'as good men's bodies as any live'. There is however a note at the end of one letter where the elder brother felt he was too close to his sister Anne.
The dates for birth and death are best estimates. A John Pampyng, who may have been related, died at Sco Ruston in 1472.